So we had seen Cape Reinga as the furthest Northern point in New Zealand, so it seemed only natural to see what’s happening in down South. While there have been a lot of conversation about whether Bluff is the furthest Southern point of New Zealand, I can tell you that it is and it is not at the same time. To be clear Invercargill is most southern city, Bluff is most souther residential township, but the Southernmost point of them all is Slope point (besides Stuart Island which is a part of New Zealand too). If it sounds too complicated, I get it. So forget about all that and let’s focus on what to see in those places.
So Invercargil is the commercial centre of the Southland region. It is located in the middle of the the Southland Plains. That explains why we were so bored when driving there. Suddenly there were no signs of Southern Alps, not even small hills, just flat land and straight roads with no ups and downs and windy turns(which is rare in New Zealand).
Besides it's boring flat looks, the land here is rich and is used as a fertile farmland.
As the city is located so far South there is possible to see Aurora Australis (Southern lights) which is the same Nothern lights just in South. :D As it wasn't winter when we visited, it wasn't possible to see them. But I would see that could be the main reason to go there.
The streets in Invercargill are straight and flat too. It was interesting to see how far you can see at the end of the street, which is never the case in other cities.
Our first stop like in many other cities was The Botanical gardens. They are almost in every city and almost every time they are for free. So that’s good enough for us. :D There was also a aviary. Where we could see parrots, doves and other birds.
Everything looked bright green, and the day was nice and warm.
One cool thing is that you can see are Tuatara – almost extinct witnesses of the dinosaur era. You can check out the little lizard type mini dinosaurs at The Southland Museum and Art Gallery. You don't have to go in, as they are visible through the glass wall from the outside of the museum.
Tuatara were extinct on the mainland New Zealand, with the remaining populations confined to 32 offshore islands. But since the breeding project is going on, they have been released in a protected area, to avoid predator attacks.
The city is not that big, so you can easily walk everywhere. Arhitecture is nice and there are some historic and interesting buildings. Also there are some statues like weka and the big umbrella.
I would say that Invercargill is a city where you can grab some food, walk in the nice gardens, or go to the cinema.
Bluff used to called Campbelltown is a town and seaport in the Southland region. It is the southernmost town in mainland New Zealand.
Besides the stunning views to the ocean, you can also go for some fish and chips in a local cafes or do some hiking. There are several short hikes in the area like Foveaux Walkway, Glory Track, MillenniumTrack and Topuni Track. Most of them starting at Stirling Point carpark.
You can see a Dog Island and some other islands form Stirling Point car park. There’s not really much to say about this place. We spent there maybe 30 minutes not more. The views are nice but that’s about it.
So depending of your available time and interesets this could be a nice day trip there. For us it wasn't the most exciting city in New Zealand, as there weren't much to do. But I highly recommend visiting in winter to see Aurora Australis which is something incredible and for free (best thing for a budget travellers).